Some newly retrieved mandolin related prints from Great Britain during the 1750s (2)


As announced on the previous blog post, there is yet another music print related to the mandolin from Great Britain from the 1750s. The volume is called Miss Mayer and is by the Italian composer Santo Lapis. Together with the Oswald’s Eighteen Divertimentoes and Walsh’s Forty Select Duets we now have a lot of extra information and repertoire available. Same as with the print by Walsh I would need to apply and pay for a license to publish an edition. In reaction to my previous post about Walsh’s Forty Select Duets, John Goodin did point out that I might apply for a CMSA grant to get the music published. Depending on the outcome of that or enough donations arriving, I will however have to limit this post to describing the volume.

Santo Lapis, Miss Mayer (London, 1759)

The print is catalogued by RISM in Series A/I as L 667 and is printed in London in 1759. The current RISM entry doesn’t mention the mandolin but it is a clear omission, likely due to the fact that the mandolin is only mentioned later on the title page. The item is preserved in the British Library with shelf mark Music Collections G.809.c.(16.).

Miss Mayer
A new 
Guittar Book in 4 Parts
Italian, French, English Airs, and
Duets for the Voice accompanied
with the
Guittar and a Thorough
Bass for the Harpsicord

Composed by

Santo Lapis
Maestro di Capella Italiano

Opera XVI. Price 5s.

NB. These Airs & Duets may be play’d on the
German Flute and Mandolin

LONDON Printed and sold for the Author at Mr. Liessem’s Music Shop
in Compton Street St. Ann’s Soho.


Santo Lapis is a rather unknown Italian composer who received some music education in Bologna in the early 1720s. After a few contributions to operas and a cantata in Italy it seems he travelled to other places in Europe from the mid-1730s. Most of his work as composer and performer seems closely linked to opera and other vocal genres though he also printed some instrumental music. (See Grove Music Online, (2002). Lapis [Lapi, Lappi], Santo (opera). Grove Music Online. Retrieved 14 Jun. 2018, from http:////

Besides the title page there are 20 pages. There are four parts, as announced on the title page. First consists of six Italian songs with bass, then six in French (followed by a Vaudeville in French), third part are six English songs and lastly six duets with bass (again in Italian). There is one instrumental piece (Preludio) which is for English guittar, and during the rest of the book is it presumed that that guittar (and mandolin) can function as an alternative to the vocal part (first arietta of the first part lists “guittar con la voce”).

In the overview of the parts and songs below I have put the poets of the lyrics in brackets after the title. (Some of the English songs have appeared in poetry books but usually without author so no references were provided. More than one correspondence was found with The Wreath, A Curious Collections of Above Two Hundred Songs, ed. Slater, London, 1755; but not enough to claim a clear link.)

  • Parte Prima (p. 1-4)
    • Preludio (instrumental)
    • Arietta 1 Non parlarmi (Paolo Rolli)
    • Arietta 2 Quante son pazze
    • Arietta 3 Chi mi dice
    • Arietta 4 Bella cosa il provo (Carlo Goldoni)
    • Arietta 5 Che bel piacer (Paolo Rolli)
    • Arietta 6 A me non piaciano (Carlo Goldoni)
  • Parte Seconda (p.5-8)
    • Air 1 Gardez vous Beautes Mortelles (Jean Baptiste Rousseau)
    • Air 2 Feux illegitimes Trompeuse
    • Air 3 Aux traits qu’une Belle (Jean Baptiste Rousseau)
    • Air 4 Temoin de ma souffrance (Jean Baptiste Rousseau)
    • Air 5 O Beaté partage funeste (Jean Baptiste Rousseau)
    • Air 6 Quand l’Amour vous blesse (Jean Baptiste Rousseau)
    • Vaudeville Vous qui par vos tendres accens
  • Parte Terza (p.9-14)
    • Air 1 When Fanny blooming fair
    • Air 2 Too late for redress
    • Air 3 Say Dori shall I speak
    • Air 4 Long time my Heart had rov’d Inconstant
    • Air 5 Cruel Creature can you leave me
    • Air 6 What tho they call me Country Lass (Henry Carey)
  • Parte Quarta (p.15-20)
    • Duetto 1 Se penar per te poss’io Caro
    • Duetto 2 Bella notte quanto sei Cara (Michelangelo Boccardi)
    • Duetto 3 A Vista del suo ben palpita
    • Duetto 4 So ben che al par di te
    • Duetto 5 Che vi Costa o luci Care
    • Duetto 6 Godo che molti Amanti (Paolo Rolli)

Taking a look a the keys used, it is very obvious this book was composed or collected with the English guittar in mind. All songs are in C major, and the tuning of the English guittar is a C major open chord.

In terms of metrums there is some variety:

2/4 (11): Preludio, I-2, I-5, II-1, II-4, Vaudeville, III-1, III-5, IV-2, IV-4, IV-6
3/4 (6): I-1, II-2, II-6, III-4, IV-1, IV-3
3/8 (5): I-3, I-6, III-2, III-6, IV-5
6/8 (2): I-4, II-3
C barré (1): II-5
C (1): III-3

Music articulation is not abundant but there are many slurs and fermatas, and occasionally an appogiatura. In some songs staccattissimo signs are used as well. Dynamics seem to be present only in the instrumental Preludio.

The style of music seems to be late baroque. Some mannerisms seem out of place for its time. However, the two other guittar books from 1757 (Walsh and Oswald) are also in late baroque style. It is a contrast though with the continental sources which even in the 1750s start to link the mandolin with the preclassical style. I discussed this in some details during my presentation at the symposium Toleranz und Intoleranz in der Musik. Dargestellt am Beispiel der Zupfmusik (Tolerance and intolerance in music. Shown through examples from plucked string music) in Mainz on 8/6/2018. As this presentation will normally be published I hope to give a notification when this paper is published.


The book by Santo Lapis adds again to our knowledge and repertory of the early music for mandolin. Though primarily focused on vocal music it is clear that the guittar and mandolin are not mentioned as alternatives without some thought (as proven by the C major key in all pieces). Though I will feature the link between the mandolin guittar again in some upcoming blog articles, I will turn my attention to some newly found mandolin-related prints from continental Europe first.